Posted by Lotg on December 11, 2003
In Reply to: Hmmm posted by R. Berg on December 11, 2003
: : : : : : : All of a sudden, or All of the sudden?
: : : : : : : I get what it means but don't you think it sounds stupid if you really think about it? All of a sudden what? Obviously it means a sudden moment in time but there is no such thing as "a sudden"
: : : : : : : I just thought I would see what you guys have to think about this, thanks. ;)
: : : : : : "All of a sudden" sounds natural to me, but "All at once", which means the same thing, sounded awkward to me the first time I heard it. I'll have to vote Not Stupid on "All of a sudden"!
: : : : : "Sudden" was used as a noun in the 16th and 17th centuries, now marked obsolete in the Oxford English Dictionary. Definition: "A sudden need, danger, or the like; an emergency." Earliest quotation for this sense: "Howe redye they be in matters of dowbte, howe constant in the Sodeyne of dayngers" .
: : : :
: : : : Is that a noun? It sounds like an adjective. ie. sudden danger (is describing the nature of the danger, which is sudden), even 'the sodeyne of dayngers', although I admit to treading on dangerous and unknown ground on this one, sounds like it's again describing the type of 'dayngers'. I don't know, I'm just asking. Still, I've never thought about it before, but 'sudden' is a damn good word isn't it??? It implies something far more abrupt than say immediate, or even urgent.
: : : If you're impressed by 'sudden' then try 'catastrophic': it'll blow your mind.
: "Sudden" is a real noun, if an obsolete one save for its use in "all of a sudden." You don't think the OED would get something like that wrong, do you?
No wasn't querying the dictionary, just didn't understand how it worked. I repeat your examples didn't sound like nouns. Don't they seem odd to you? If not, well congratulations, but I had no idea I couldn't query why. I thought the idea of this website was to explore words, and even if the bibles of words say something, surely we can still wonder why (in fact on this site, that's what we usually do)?